7 Marketing Mindsets to Get Your Business From Surviving to Thriving

Play the right games with the right attitude, that’s how you’ll win

Ayodeji Awosika
Dec 9, 2019 · 7 min read
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Photo by Alan Hurt Jr. on Unsplash

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, I know one thing about you for certain.

You spend a lot of time in your head.

There are many steps and tasks required to build a successful business, but the mindset you have matters more than the tasks themselves.

If you can’t build the right mindset and cope with the doubt and anxiety that comes with building something of your own, your business won’t be as successful as it could be.

The good news? You can improve the quality of your mindset and your business with a few subtle shifts in your mindset.

Go From Taker to Giver

You’re worried about your business. You want to succeed.

But your business isn’t about you, per se. It’s about the people you serve.

A good business solves problems, helps others reach their aspirations, and fills a need people have. When you put the focus on others, it alleviates your doubts and fears.

You’ll often find yourself feeling like a fraud. You’ll say, “Who am I to run a business, teach others, or act like an expert?”

If instead, you realize that people need what you have to offer, you feel compelled to help them.

I could give into my doubts, but I realize I’d be letting other people down — robbing the world — by not giving others my best effort.

Don’t just build your business for you. Serve others because they need you. Make it your duty.

Focus On Your “Three Foot World”

In the book “No Hero,” the author talks about training Navy Seals to rock climb.

If you catch yourself looking up and seeing the vastness of the mountain, you get distracted and afraid. The right way to climb a mountain involves focusing on your immediate surroundings — the three feet of rock you have to climb to make it to the next section.

People often think about the long and arduous process of building a business over years, but that’s not the hardest part. The hardest part is the beginning — getting over the initial hump where 99% of entrepreneurs quit.

Most people quit after six months — six weeks, even.

Realize the beginning of your journey is the most crucial and focus all of your energy into getting traction.

Don’t think about building a million-dollar company. Get one sale. Don’t think about building a blog with massive traffic for your website. Write the next post.

After you get traction, the process gets easier. You’ll still have a lot of work to do, but you’ll have the validation that your idea is worth pursuing. Most never reach that point.

Concentrate on the short term and you’ll 10x the chances of reaching your long term goals.

Use the Greatest Marketing Trick of All Time

If you run a business, you need to know marketing.

There’s no shortage of marketing advice on the internet, but most fail to give the most crucial piece of marketing advice— make a really good product or service.

One, no marketing will save a bad product.

Two, you’ll get a much better return on investment by putting your efforts into making something good than any other marketing trick you can think of. That means doing the little stuff other entrepreneurs don’t want to do — deep research into your target audience, actually talking to your current customers to see what they like and dislike about your product, taking time to refine your product over time, and never settling.

Gimmicks and shiny objects look cool, but they’re often more sizzle than steak. If you never read another marketing blog post again and solely focused on your product, you’d be amazed at the results.

Play Games You Can Win

I have a personal development side business based on writing. I also coach other writers.

There are plenty of opportunities I could pursue, like dropshipping, SaaS, affiliate marketing niche sites, etc., that could all potentially be more lucrative than what I’m doing. But I don’t pursue them.

Why? Because they don’t fit my strengths. I’m a good communicator. I love words. I’m not a technical, organized, and cerebral type of person.

Chasing after ideas that don’t suit my talents would make the business harder to build and lower my odds of success.

You have to work hard to become successful. But why choose something that’s too hard for you based on your tastes and talents. Why not stay in your wheelhouse?

It’s funny, outside of the things I love and have a talent for, I’m not productive or successful at all. That’s why I ignore those things and double-down on my strengths.

I’d advise people who want to build a writing business like me to do it…only if they love to write. Not because they heard blogging is a good way to make money. External rewards like money aren’t motivating enough.

You have to play to your strengths and build something you enjoy. It’ll feel less like work and have a much higher chance of success.

Use Envy to Your Advantage

Have you ever read one of those income reports from an online entrepreneur and felt a pang of envy?

Don’t lie. You probably have.

We all have a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others. And envy runs very high in the entrepreneurship space.

What if I told you envy wasn’t all bad, though?

I found a trick that not only helps me deal with it, but also gives me an opportunity to thrive.

Every time I feel envious of someone, I shift my envious energy into curiosity. Instead of casting off their success as luck, I take a deep look at their strategies to reverse engineer them.

A colleague of mine got featured on a very popular blog once. I was jealous. Instead of wallowing in it, I took a look into the submission guidelines of the blog. I published a piece on that same blog week or two later.

I continue to use this strategy. I never copy or plagiarise. Rather, I “steal like an artist.

If I see a marketing technique working well for someone else, I try it for myself. If I notice a headline structure of a post that goes viral, I create my own unique versions of it with a different topic but a similar structure.

I use negative emotions as fuel to get better. Always think of a way you can channel negativity into creativity.

Realize This Crucial Truth

Most entrepreneurs, creatives, and artists make the same predictable mistake.

Odds are, if you’re not getting traction, you’re making it, too.

The good news? It’s easy to fix.

Ready for it?

Stop thinking the world is waiting for your arrival.

I hate to break it to you, but nobody cares about “your journey.” Don’t fall for the “build it and they will come” fallacy. It’s your job to make people care, build your tribe, and find customers.

The truth? A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have a strange sense of entitlement. They think they should be rewarded and praised for the simple fact that they’re trying to start a business.

Do you feel this way?

Are you just expecting success to happen? If so, why? Have you put in enough work? Have you exhausted both your resources and your resourcefulness? If the answer is no, keep going.

Here’s the good news. The world isn’t waiting for you to arrive, but it’s also not waiting for you to fail.

The resistance, the inner critic, that evil voice in your head telling you that others are waiting to pounce on you when you fail and embarrass you…isn’t telling you the truth.

People are preoccupied with their own problems. Look at your own life. You’re constantly worried about your place in the world. Everyone else is exactly the same.

When you’re not well known you have room to practice and explore your creativity. There’s no pressure. You have nothing to lose but a little bit of an ego bruise. You’re OK!

Do the work when no one's watching. Eventually, people will watch. And you’ll win.

Keep This in Mind When You Feel Like Quitting

Struggle doesn’t feel good. Neither does failure. But remember why you started this journey in the first place.

Even if you never grow an ultra-successful business, you’ll have something most other people will never experience — the gratification of trying in the first place.

Most people go through life playing it safe. They die with unrealized dreams. What’s worse, trying and falling short, or having to live with the dull pain of regret over never giving it a shot?

I’ve launched products that got zero sales. I started four or five blogs that I ditched before starting the successful ones I have now. I made up my mind that no matter what happens, I owe it to myself to pursue my dreams.

And odds are if you work hard at something you have a talent for, iterate along the way, and stay focused on the “war” regardless of the “battles” you win or lose, good things are going to happen. I’ve never heard of an entrepreneur who persisted their entire life and had no success.

You will get frustrated. You will find yourself wondering whether all the effort is worth it.

It’s worth it.

You get an extremely small time on this planet compared to the history of the universe. And, even if you are a major success, your “legacy” will die off in a few generations anyway.

There’s no need to take this all so seriously. Have fun, play the game of life, and do everything in your power to pursue your highest aims in life.

Doing all the above is a victory in and of itself.

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